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FILE IMAGE: Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank

TUBAS, Feb 2, 2020 (WAFA) — Armed Israeli settlers attacked today a Palestinian shepherd while he was grazing his livestock near Khirbet Yarza, a Palestinian community to the east of Tubas city, in the northeastern West Bank, west of the Jordan Valley, said a local activist.

Aref Daraghmeh, a rights activist, said armed settlers beat up Faysal Masaeed and threatened to shoot him while he was grazing his livestock near his tents in Yarza area.

Khirbet Yarza is a marginalized hamlet, it has the least of life possibilities, and most of its lands are planted with Israeli landmines. Thus, there are about 145 people in the hamlet who are living under deportation threats, according to Palestinian Observatory of Israeli Colonization Activities (POICA).

The residents of Yarza, located in the area designated as C, which is under full Israeli military rule, make a living off shepherding and live in natural caves, in shacks, or in tents. Over the years, the Civil Administration has repeatedly demolished the community’s structures.

Armed settlers and soldiers often prevent Palestinian shepherds from herding in the open pastures of the occupied West Bank in order to force them to abandon the area.

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli information center for human rights in occupied territories, settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinians casualties — injuries and fatalities — as well as damage to land and property. In some cases, they even serve as an armed escort, or even join in the attacks.

“Investigations, if even opened, are usually closed with no action taken against perpetrators as part of an undeclared policy of leniency. The long-term effect of this violence is the dispossession of Palestinians from increasing parts of the West Bank, making it easier for Israel to take over land and resources,” said B’Tselem.

Under international law, Israel has a duty to protect Palestinians in the West Bank from this conduct. However, Israeli authorities routinely shirk this responsibility, even when the violent actions can be anticipated, said the center.

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